Production of the Ram 1500 pickup truck in Sterling Heights and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV in Detroit will be down next week along with a slew of other auto industry plants as a result of the global microchip shortage and summer maintenance.
It’s the first time the supply constraint will halt production of the new Ram truck and the two-row Grand Cherokee for a week. Stellantis NV has worked to limit impact on its popular, profitable pickups and SUVs. The automaker gave signs this week that those efforts had been working: It expects to surpass for the first half of the year its forecasted annual adjusted operating margin of 5.5% to 7.5%, despite idling plants.
Experts, however, say the ramifications of the shortage of the semiconductors used in consumer electronics that were in high demand during the pandemic could be felt into next year. It could cost the industry $110 billion, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.
Detroit’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant, home to Jeep’s most popular SUV and the Dodge Durango SUV, will idle next week along with Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. Jefferson North had crews cut in the spring, but the plant continued to operate. Sterling Heights also will be down the week of July 19 for previously scheduled general maintenance.
Production of the Ram 1500 Classic, the previous-generation pickup Stellantis sells as a value option, had stopped temporarily earlier this year at Warren Truck Assembly Plant.
Ford Motor Co. has had to stop production of its F-150 pickups in the past because of the microchip shortage. General Motors Co. has been able to protect its truck plants from idling.
Additionally, Windsor’s Chrysler minivan plant and Brampton Assembly Plant where Stellantis assembles the Dodge muscle cars and Chrysler 300 sedan in Ontario will be down next week because of the semiconductor shortage. Brampton’s summer shutdown will take place the weeks of July 19 and 26.
The automaker last week said Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois will be down through July 26, the day it officially is cutting the second shift at the plant that assembles the Jeep Cherokee crossover. The week of July 19 is a previously scheduled down week.
The Jeep Compass crossover plant in Toluca, Mexico, is down next week because of the microchip shortage. The Toledo Assembly Complex that produces the Jeep Wrangler SUV and Gladiator midsize pickup will take previously scheduled downtime next week to perform general maintenance.
“Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers,” company spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement, “to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry.”